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When you think about men’s fitness what comes to mind? A slick tan 20 somethings’ beach body, running an ultra-marathon, or climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Everest? Me either. I think men’s fitness is really defined as a sustained way of living the healthiest lifestyle a man can manage. What does that look like? I really think it’s quite simple. If you are not unduly physically challenged by doing the things you love, and you are able to continue doing those things — that’s a successful measurement of men’s fitness. Whether you love being active outdoors, feel great and full of energy for recreation, and enjoy your personal life, fitness is an attitude — a mindset — and a way of living.
Fitness is also an expression of what you can and cannot do. The things that limit men most from living as I’ve described above relate to poor health. There are countless reasons why some men aren’t as healthy as we can be .. most of them are preventable or reversible. For example, being overweight or obese can be preventable, and is reversible. While it isn’t groundbreaking news that men should exercise to improve overall physical fitness, it is worth noting that obesity, a preventable disease, is strongly associated with the rise in deaths caused by cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, stroke, and related disabilities. In less than 15 years it is suggested that near 40% of world’s population will be overweight, and another 20% will be obese.
What does Father’s Day have to do with men’s fitness?
Is that correct? Are we saying that within 15 years — nearly 60% of the world’s population will be at least overweight, and at risk for the disorders and diseases mentioned above? Does this mean that men and women, teenagers, and children you know face unprecedented health risks connected to being overweight, and obese? Are you a father? Think of your 5yr old son, daughter, or grandchild — by age twenty 60% may be managing significant health problems directly linked to being overweight, and obese. Is this true? Sadly, yes. Unless, we act now.
Why start off on such a glum note? It’s critical to quickly define the dire situation wherein millions of people are struggling to escape. Health is the number one reason why all people, including men should exercise regularly. If you are a father — think about Father’s Day .. will you be healthier this Father’s Day, or next? If a man is drowning, how desperately would you try to get him a life vest? This article is my Father’s Day life vest. Do you know a man in your life who breathes heavily, is overweight, perhaps already managing a disease or disorder? Is he ready to face the truth? Are you this man? See the life vest? Are you ready for help?
Where to start when considering an exercise or men’s fitness program?
Beginning a new exercise program designed to meet the needs of men isn’t a simple task. Try a quick search for men’s fitness programs online, you’ll get an endless assortment of do’s and don’ts. You can find endless information on specific exercise routines for men, and men’s fitness articles — however, jumping into the latest men’s workout fad could actually do more harm than good. There are countless high intensity group training workouts wherein exercisers perform varying forms of olympic weightlifting, calisthenic exercises, and intense endurance exercises that work quite well for endurance athletes, and super-fit movie stars .. are you (or is he) an elite athlete or movie star?
While there are very responsible guidelines for men beginning an exercise program, it is crucial to consider many other factors, other than the sex of a person, to determine how to start an exercise program. Fitness begins with questions, not answers.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How old are you?
- Are you stressed out?
- Do you have problems with food?
- When was your last physical exam?
- Do you have an existing heart condition?
- Have you been diagnosed with depression, low testosterone, or hbp?
- Have you been told by your doctor to participate is supervised exercise?
- Are you overweight, obese, or are you managing diabetes (type 1 or type 2)?
- Have you been prescribed medication for your blood pressure or heart by your doctor?
- Do you have bone or joint problems that could be made worse by a change in physical activity?
Of course there are many more questions to evaluate when determining the best course for action developing a fitness plan. A holistic approach allows for a wider, and more comprehensive fact gathering effort. It is important to remember than men face different types of challenges than women. Yes, a man typically has more muscle mass, perhaps it’s even easier for men to lose weight as compared to the number of fat pounds a woman might lose in a comparable amount of time even.
However, men experience several stressors unique to our gender. You might have noticed questions above related to stress, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and low testosterone? Does this mean the men exclusively experience these health concerns? NO. However, it is a fact that statistics support the fact that men often overlook health issues, as compared to women who are generally more health conscious. Men – are you as health conscious as the women in your life is? Women – think of the man in your life .. is he less overtly aware and less likely to go see the doctor about a health concern he views to be mild?
What types of exercise to start when beginning a new men’s fitness routine?
In general, men should begin with physical activity that doesn’t allow them to feel overwhelmed or taxed. This means that if a man hasn’t exercised in a long time, and he (or you) have considered the questions expressed above, it is logical to begin a mild form of physical activity based on his doctors recommendations. This might mean physical activity like walking on a treadmill, or exercising outdoors by riding a bike, hiking, canoeing, fishing, or any other activity that he feels well doing. Healthy men should be performing exercises that responsibly challenge his cardiovascular system, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and mobility. Basic whole body exercises, even if modified, like the squat, pressing exercises, and pulling exercises should be considered.
That said, if a man has health concerns it is critical to get a physical check-up prior to beginning a new routine of physical activity including formal exercise. When medical clearance is given — the opportunities are endless to engage in exercise, and physical activity that is fun, and engaging. It isn’t a good idea to begin exercise that is very intense. A personal trainer, like me, can give you, or the man in your life a complete physical assessment to determine if there are areas in which he should get further recommendation. After a physical assessment we will have information necessary to allow us to move forward with basic fitness planning.
What do I value, and do you value the same things?
Please contact me if you are serious about developing a men’s fitness program. I am a trusted personal trainer providing in-home personal training for men specializing in men’s fitness, developing solutions focused on weight management, stress management, and heart health. If you are looking for a genuine in-home personal training experience, and exploring a new perspective on your health, please contact me today.
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